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Sustainability tips

Sustainability tips

At Oxfam, it’s not just our logo that’s green

Oxfam Trailwalker is firmly focussed on sustainability. (Find out more about our sustainability goals). The thing is, reducing our carbon footprint depends on you. In 2014 the per team carbon emissions were 870kgCO2e and team transport accounted for a massive 99% of that. In 2015, we need everyone's help to bring that number down. Read on to find simple tips for you and your team:

Tip 1 – Rethink the heavy bottled water

By carrying a BPA-free hydration pack, you can go hands free helping spread the weight of heavy water and can navigate those steep climbs easier. You can also refill the pack at the checkpoint water stations.

Did you know: Nearly 90% of plastic water bottles go to landfill which take thousands of years to decompose. By using a hydration pack you’re not only save walking load you’re also saving hundreds of tons of plastic land fill in NZ each year.

  • Check out the great deals from the team at Bivouac on our gear list

Tip 2 – Stay close to the event

Chose smaller, simpler and self-contained accommodation for your team. Staying in a campervans close to the event means your support crew have all they need with them at all times and are mobile if there are any last minute team requirements.

Staying together in a campervan over the event will consume less energy and produce less carbon emissions then staying in a hotel for just one night!

An added bonus carpooling together as a team and support crew is the absolute best way to reduce your team’s carbon emissions! (And it’s super fun.)

Tip 3 – Reduce

When packing your team's gear avoid take taking disposable items such as packaging. Consider what your support crews are buying – do you want individually wrapped muesli bars or could you make your own in bulk without the wrapping? Every bit of disposable waste adds up and the extra weight counts on the trail.

Each year 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. They are not biodegradable, and are making their way into our oceans and beaches.

Annually a person uses approximately 1,500 paper napkins—around four each day. If everyone the used one less napkin a day, more than a half a billion kilos of napkins could be saved from landfills each year.

Tip 4 – Reuse

Be cup free for the event. Oxfam Trailwalker re-usable coffee cups are great reusable alternatives and are a qreat way too cut your team’s waste footprint. Also have the support crew prepare reusable plates, containers and reusable ziplock bags for your meals and food storage. It’s tidy and waste free.

In order to reduce waste in 2014, we went cup-free!  It was a huge success and reduced the event landfill waste be 33%. For 2015 we’re going Cup-Free again!

If every participant and just one support crew member used one cup per checkpoint, we would waste 12,000 cups.

Tip 5 – Recycle

There are recycling waste stations at every check point and event station. Speak to our green team at the event, they are there to help your team easily sort and recycle. By sorting all your waste into recycling and compost groups, you will be taking your first steps too becoming a sustainable trailblazer team.

As Kiwi’s 65% of what we send to landfill each year could have been recycled.  Imagine 65% less rubbish going to landfill

Tip 6 – Have a game plan and conserve fuel

Create an event plan with your support crews. Using the trail map and prepare all you need together before the trail start. This will mean your support crew can follow you from checkpoint to checkpoint and avoid unnecessary trips back into town.

  1. Food – lots. For your team and for you. Don’t underestimate how much you’ll need.
  2. Gear – socks etc. Make sure you pack what they and you will need. It will get cold at night.
  3. Medications – Anti-flams, plasters, strapping tape, pain killers (think blisters).
  4. Things to do – magazines, books, cards, games and costumes to keep you entertained.
  5. Juice for your phone, torch and the car!
  6. Plan – Check, check and check again. Shops are not open at 4am!

Tip 7 – Do more with less – use one vehicle only

Use only one Vehicle pass! Plan how your support crew’s setup at checkpoints, using a camper van or just one med sized vehicle you can keep all your team needs self-contained and mobile. Using just one vehicle pass also makes it easier to find that perfect space at the checkpoints.  

99% of the events footprint comes for transport and vehicle emissions.  Using a camper van for your team and support crew is one of the most sustainable actions your team can take. Carpooling together is also the most fun way to your team’s trip!

Tip 8 – Walk the talk – Keep our trails clean and green

Be the most compassionate team.  Pick up any rubbish you see one your walk or at the checkpoints not just your own. There are recycle stations at every stop so this simple act will keep the trail as nature intended. 

Stick to the path to avoid harming native flora. Leave the path as natural as you can so we all can enjoy nature’s offering. 

More than 25,000kg of plastic waste is littered in New Zealand each day and on average each of us litter seven grams daily.

All that litter builds up to between five and 13 million tonnes of plastic waste be blown and washed up in the world's oceans every year!

Tip 9 – Compostable dinnerware for an easy meal

Choosing compostable plates are an easy alternative to non-recyclables. There are compost bins at every checkpoint and finish of all your food scraps and even those wooden chopsticks. This is an easy way to clean up on the go and not worry about those dirty dishes at home.

Did you know: 25% of landfill waste in New Zealand is mostly organic compostables! By composting you food scraps you are lowering the amount of toxic air and water contamination of nitrates and methane runoff from landfills.

Tip 10 – Use Rechargeable Batteries

Use rechargeable batteries in your head torch and have your support crew changing them up during the day so they are ready when you need them! Checkpoint Four is a good place to stop and check your torch power so they will last you through the night. 

Each year around 14 billion alkaline batteries produced most of which end up as hazardous waste in landfills. Using rechargeable a simple and cost effective way you can help to reduce New Zealand's landfill waste by up to 5% alone!

Tip 11 – Buy Local

You team will need lots of food to energize you through the trail. Before setting off, organize with your support crew to buy local products and support the community that supports your event while reducing food transport emissions.

A basketful of imported food creates more CO2 than cooking for 6 months! As a general rule you can reduce the impact of your purchasing by:

Choosing products that are Fairtrade certified organic or free range to reduce. 

Buy in bulk to reduce packaging and transport in reusable containers to eliminate unnecessary waste.

Tip 12 – Switch-off

2015 Switch-off Campaign
We are teaming up with local residents and businesses in the Taupo region to get involved and proactively “switch-off” for the 36 hours of Oxfam Trailwalker to reduce carbon emissions.

We introduced “switch-off” in 2014, and as a result the event was power positive by 24%

Switch everything off at the wall before you hit the 100km trail. 

 Responsible traveling begins at home! Before you head out, remember to unplug any appliance that won't be in use while you're away! E.g. computers and chargers.

As much as 10% of the electricity used in your home is wasted power used up by adaptors, chargers, computers, and other appliances that are lift plugged in when you're not using them.

Know a business in Taupo? Ask them to join our switch off campaign!

Tip 13 – Inspire others

Our actions are counted; inspire other people to join this commitment speard the word and get creative. Try coming up with new ideas to turn your team in to sustainably trailblazers.

Let us know what your team is doing! 

Sustainability Award

We have a sustainability award. Think you’ve got what it takes? Implement our tips and any of your own and you could be in the running to be the ‘Most Environmentally Sustainable Team and Support Crew’.

Thank you for all your efforts to help keep Oxfam Trailwalker environmentally sustainable. We can't do it without you.




The absolute best way to reduce your team’s carbon emissions is with less cars! So plan your event carefully to get your team, support crew and gear to and from the event and leave that extra car behind.  Support crews will be limited to two vehicle passes per team (no entry to a checkpoint without your vehicle pass) to help us reduce our transport emissions.

Looking to share a ride to Oxfam Trailwalker with people from outside your team? Check out our carpool adverts or post your own message detailing a little about yourself.

Stay together in a Bach
It is best to stay in self-contained accommodation such as houses, apartments or baches as these produce less carbon emissions than hotels and motels. Visit www.bookabach.co.nz for baches in Taupo and www.organicexplorer.co.nz for a guide to eco-friendly places to stay.

In order to reduce waste in 2014, we’re going cup-free!  If every participant and just one support crew member used one cup per checkpoint, we would waste 12,000 cups.  Let’s save that number instead!  We have teamed up with the great guys at Ideal Cups to produce Oxfam Trailwalker Re-usable coffee cups. These are available as a free fundraising reward and will be available to buy at the training weekends and at the event.

Waste not, want not
As Kiwi’s 65% of what we send to landfill each year could have been recycled.  Imagine 65% less rubbish going to landfill – smell the fresh air! Check out the great Auckland City rubbish guide to see what you can recycle or speak to our green team at the event.

Reduce and Reuse
Consider what you’re buying – do you need individually wrapped muesli bars or could you buy in bulk and make your own? How about taking your own shopping bags to the supermarket? Or, reusing your zip locks for the bulk bins? The unpackit website has some awesome info!

Ditch the disposable
Invest in a hydration pack or a stainless steel water bottle and refill from our mains tap stands at each checkpoint.  Don’t buy plastic water bottles. 

We are teaming up with local residents and businesses in the Taupo region to get involved and proactively “switch off” for the 36 hours of Oxfam Trailwalker to reduce carbon emissions. Switch everything off at the wall before you hit the 100km trail.  Know a business in Taupo? Ask them to join our switch off campaign!

Leave No Trace (LNT)
“Pack it in, pack it out”. We all love the great outdoors and we all want to keep it great.  Anything you take into the trail should be taken out.  Lead by example. Pick up any rubbish you see not just your own.  Equally, leave what you find (that’s natural anyway) – the next people also want to enjoy nature’s mysteries.